“Our new strategy is based on a principle of realism guided by our national interests and rooted in our timeless values. This strategy recognizes that, whether we like it or not, we are engaged in a new era of competition,” Trump said.
Trump outlined four pillars of the national security strategy to deal with those threats. First, he emphasized “protecting the homeland and American people,” an effort he said calls for the construction of a wall along the southern border with Mexico, the ending of chain migration and the closing of visa program “loopholes.” Second, “Advancing American prosperity” that calls for fair trade and rebuilding of American infrastructure. Third, “Preserving peace through strength” that he said will be achieved primarily through a build-up and modernization of the U.S. military and fourth, “Advancing American influence abroad” through strong alliances based on reciprocity, with partners paying their fair share.
The national security strategy is a congressionally-mandated report. Neither President Obama nor President George W. Bush chose to present their strategies in a public speech, but President Bush’s strategy became a major rationale for pre-emptive military action in Iraq and Afghanistan.
President Trump did mention the importance of “new domains such as cyber and social media” that could be used to attack or threaten the United States, but the strategy offered little else to counter the types of threats and techniques the intelligence community says were utilized by Russia in influencing the 2016 election.
Last week, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster previewed the national security strategy in a speech at an event hosted by U.K.-based think tank, Policy Exchange. McMaster described China’s economic aggression as a threat that is “challenging the rules-based economic order that helped lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty,” and suggested the way to deal with these two threats was “competitive engagement.”
“We have to compete effectively across new domains,” he said. “I think in many ways we evacuated a lot of competitive space in recent years and created a lot of opportunities for those revisionist powers,” McMaster said.